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Capt John Carroll DeWitt, Jr
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Birth: Feb. 5, 1910
Philadelphia County
Pennsylvania, USA
Death: Aug. 5, 2002
Dorchester County
South Carolina, USA

John Carroll DeWitt Biography

John Carroll DeWitt was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania on February 5, 1910. He was the son of John Carroll DeWitt, Sr. (born on August 30, 1874 in New Jersey; died on August 28, 1940 in Decatur, Georgia) and Clara Catharine Lane DeWitt (born on October 3, 1878 in New York; died in 1972 in Decatur, Georgia).

John graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis in 1932, and became a career officer in the U.S. Navy.

He met Martha Wendla Johnson in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, where she had trained to be a nurse. They married on May 17, 1935 at Annapolis, Maryland. He always affectionately called her "Johnnie."

Martha was born on November 18, 1910 in Westminster, South Carolina. Her parents were Eva Pearl Adams (born on January 25, 1888 in South Carolina) and John Victor ("Victor") Johnson (born "Johan Vicktor Johansson Bäckman") on April 30, 1881 in Sideby, Finland in the parish of Vasa, a community where schools, language and customs were Swedish.

Victor enrolled at the Åland Mercantile Marine office at the age of 18 on December 6, 1899. His Fräjdebok [inscription document] lists information about his service, the ports of call, and the names of the large sailing ships on which he served as ship's carpenter, second mate, and constable. His performance evaluations indicated that he was a capable young man. He "signed off" of his ship (the Asia) at Ship Island (near Biloxi, Mississippi) around 1905, at the end of his first term of service. Ship records indicate that he was a crewmember on the Asia until 1905. After he immigrated to the USA, he Anglicized his name to John Victor Johnson. Victor married Eva Pearl Adams in 1907. They relocated to South Carolina. Their daughters Edna Victorine (April 1908-1933) and Martha Wendla were born there. They returned to Florida, where Victor was hired as the foreman of the Tidewater (Tilghman) Cypress Company in Lukens, near Cedar Key, a coastal community on the Gulf of Mexico, where their son John Victor "Vic" (December 1912-October 13, 1989) was born.

Martha's mother Eva Pearl died unexpectedly on March 26, 1915. Her death was caused by a massive infection, possibly uremic poisoning. She is buried at the Anthony Cemetery (Anthony, Marion County), not far from where she and Victor had owned a farm.

After her death, Victor married Katie Frances DuBose in Worthington Springs at the home of Katie's father, Samuel WILES DuBose, on April 2, 1916. Katie was the daughter of Wiles DuBose and Susan Alice Pinkston DuBose. She was born on December 27, 1894 at her parents' home on Olustee Creek, near Providence, Florida.

Victor and Katie had two children, Elmer Hunter Johnson (born on January 11, 1917 in Lukens, Florida – died on February 27, 2007 in Seminole County, Florida) and Alice Lucille Johnson (born on November 6, 1920 in Sumner).

Martha and John lived in many interesting places, including Hawaii (where they lived in 1941, when Pearl Harbor was attacked; as a nurse, Martha tended to the servicemen who were injured in the attack). They also lived in Guam, Japan, and Yorktown, Virginia.

John served in the U.S. Navy during World War II, primarily in the Pacific. Just before the outbreak of World War II, he served as a lieutenant (supply officer) on the U.S.S. Minneapolis, a heavy cruiser, during several major engagements in the South Pacific.

After John retired from the Navy (as a captain), they moved to Hayden Lake, Idaho and subsequently to Pebble Beach, California. They retired to the Presbyterian Home of Summerville, South Carolina in the 1980s, where John's older sister, Edith DeWitt (1906-1989), was a resident.

John and Martha enjoyed a productive life. Martha played golf until she was in her late 80s. John and Martha collaborated on and produced numerous crossword puzzles, many of which were published in major crossword publications, mainly in the New York Times.

Martha died in Summerville on January 4, 2000. She was buried at sea with a U.S. Navy ceremony. John died on August 5, 2002 in Summerville and was buried at sea, also with a U.S. Navy ceremony.

The obituary of John Carroll DeWitt [from the November 2002 edition of "Shipmate – The U.S. Naval Academy Alumni Association" (Last Call) obituary section] follows:


John Carroll DeWitt Jr. ‘32

Captain John C. DeWitt Jr., SC, USN (Ret.), died on 5 August 2002 at the Presbyterian Home in Summerville, SC. He was 92 years old.

John was born in Philadelphia, PA, and was the son of the late John C. DeWitt and Catherine Lane DeWitt.

Upon graduation with the Naval Academy class of 1932, John was ordered to SALT LAKE CITY, but after two years at sea, decided to go to the Supply and Finance School in Philadelphia and transfer to the Supply Corps. While in Philadelphia, he met and married Martha W. Johnson of Sanford, FL.

He served in various assignments as a supply officer: disbursing officer of a destroyer squadron, the clothing factory, and the supply depot in Guam. Just before the outbreak of World War II, he was ordered to the heavy cruiser MINNEAPOLIS and saw service aboard her during several major engagements in the South Pacific. He was recommended for commendation and the Navy Cross by P.J. Lowry, Commander of the Cruiser Division Six, in a memorandum to the Commander-in-Chief of the U. S. Pacific Fleet on May 15, 1942 about John's courage, calmness and good judgment in the Battle of the Coral Sea. After the war, he was assigned to BUSANDA and had a second tour of duty in Guam and then Tokyo. Following those tours, he was ordered to the Mine Depot in Yorktown, VA, as supply officer, from which duty he retired.

His wife, "Johnnie," was an excellent golfer, which likely influenced their decision to retire to the Monterey Peninsula in California. There, John sold real estate for awhile and just enjoyed retirement. During this period he [and Johnnie] turned out crossword puzzles for almost every publisher in the business. After a lengthy stay in California, he and Johnnie decide to move to the Presbyterian Home in Summerville, SC [where his older sister Edna DeWitt was a resident].

John was predeceased by his wife and they had no children.


Submitted by Sandra Witt on April 25, 2010

Family links: 
  John Carroll DeWitt (1874 - 1940)
  Clara Catharine Lane DeWitt (1878 - 1972)
  Martha Windla Johnson DeWitt (1910 - 2000)
  Edith Matilda DeWitt (1906 - 1989)*
  John Carroll DeWitt (1910 - 2002)
*Calculated relationship
Body buried at sea
Specifically: buried at sea with U.S. Navy ceremony
Created by: Sandra Johnson Witt
Record added: Apr 25, 2010
Find A Grave Memorial# 51600998
Capt John Carroll DeWitt, Jr
Added by: Sandra Johnson Witt
Capt John Carroll DeWitt, Jr
Added by: Sandra Johnson Witt
Capt John Carroll DeWitt, Jr
Added by: Sandra Johnson Witt
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- Sarah Quinn
 Added: Feb. 13, 2011

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